One way to make people hesitate before challenging a will or trust, is to include a no-contest clause, which disinherits them, if they file a legal challenge.
People often get very upset when they think they have not received their fair share of a deceased family member's estate. They can often be so upset that they decide to issue a legal challenge to the estate plan, especially if there is a substantial money involved.
These challenges can take a lot money out of the estate, since lawyers have to be hired to defend the estate from the challenge.
A way around this problem is to include a no-contest clause in wills and trusts, as Press Enterprise discusses in "The Pros and cons of the no-contest clause."
A no-contest clause helps prevent these challenges. It simply states that anyone who challenges the will or trust will receive nothing from it.
As a result, the document will be effectively rewritten to disinherit the challenger.
This is an easy way to stop many people from challenging an estate plan.
They might not be happy with what they received, but they do not want to risk getting nothing.
Some criticize these clauses as deterring people from challenging an estate plan when they have good reason to, such as when there has been undue influence used by someone else to get more of the estate than he or she should.
However, most states will not enforce a no-contest clause, if the person challenging the will or trust has probable cause to do so.
If you want to make sure a no-contest clause is included in your will or trust, then visit an estate planning attorney and make sure the clause is included.
Reference: Press Enterprise (Aug. 5, 2017) "The Pros and cons of the no-contest clause."